Archive for month: April, 2015

Valve Rethinks Paid Mods

28 Apr
April 28, 2015

In the face of various problems and a boat-load of criticism, Valve and Bethesda have decided to rethink their paid mod model.

I have to give Valve credit for being open to listening to their audience and admitting when they get something wrong. And I suspect we’ll see this feature again soon, probably in a new title where it won’t be so disruptive to an existing communities culture.

So we’ll just have to wait and see where this goes

Ain’t No Party Like A Boarding Party

25 Apr
April 25, 2015

Space piracy simulator Galaxy Heist is looking like it might be something special. Not to mention, rather beautiful.

Certainly worth following development and keeping an eye out for their kickstarter. 😉

Time Out For Injury

25 Apr
April 25, 2015

As I mentioned in a previous post, a week or so ago I started feeling the twang of repetitive strain in my mouse arm.

Pretty alarming. That’s your body ringing the alarm bell before you suffer long-term injury.

So, whether I wanted to or not, I’ve been taking a break.

Difficult, since so much of what I do, work or play, involves a computer. And I didn’t want to take leave from work just yet. But after hours I (mostly) avoided the computer. I even browsed twitter on my phone using my left hand, as I wanted to completely relax the right.

Not that bad, overall. I caught up on some TV, read, spent time with my girlfriend. And it seems to have helped, the arm is improving. Not quite 100% yet, so I’m still being cautious, but getting there. Whew.

With almost 2 weeks of unproductive-ness, though, I’m starting to feel the itch. The urge to do something. R&R is fun, for sure, but it’s not fulfilling in the same way that building things is. I desperately want to finish SC then move on to all the other ideas bubbling around in my head! Time’s a-wasting!

I gave in to the restlessness the other night and started doodling. Here, enjoy this work-in-progress picture of an evil ghost lady. A dress that is both gauzy/transparent AND made of glowing ectoplasm? Hahahaha IHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoingDog.jpg.

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The hand held up pretty well, though. Painting is a different set of movements to mouse use but it’s still a good sign. Almost ready to get back to work.

Fortunately, there is a confluence of public holidays next week that mean that I can take 3 days off and get a full 9 day stretch of holiday time. Which is perfect, I can put in 8 hours a day on SC, feel productive AND relax the arm in the evening, avoiding immediately straining it again.

I’m looking forward to it!

But that’s next week. No work today. Today, I’m slightly hung over. And I think I’m going to get some quality time in with Pillars of Eternity. 😉

It’s been pretty difficult, given how much I was enjoying it, to not dive back in to Pillars every evening after work. I have been disciplined and patient. But now, now I play!

Enjoy your weekends, everyone.

Living The Dream

24 Apr
April 24, 2015

Study finds that Video Game Designer is the most popular dream job chosen by kids around the world

Living the dream, living the dream. Now just gotta make it pay the rent. 😉

Pumped

24 Apr
April 24, 2015

Scientific fact – listening to the 300 soundtrack while you exercise makes you feel like a Spartan Warrior.

Rather than, say, a pasty, sweating programmer struggling to lift light weights. 😛

Steam’s Paid Mods

24 Apr
April 24, 2015

Daniel pointed out to me that Valve have announced paid modding support in Steam, starting with Bethesda’s Skyrim. My thoughts below.

Like Daniel, I have mixed feelings on this. You could say that I’m cautiously optimistic.

On the one hand, as a developer, I like the idea of paid mods. The Unity asset store is one of the best things about the Unity engine; people earn money, some of them very good money, from making things that enhance the experience for everyone. I like that ‘we thrive together’ philosophy.

And supporting modding is a bigger enterprise than some might realize, especially the kind of modding you can do in a game like Skyrim. That translates into development time, which translates into money. It’s not a trivial cost. Being able to earn a cut of mod sales will provide an additional financial incentive to developers to support modding, and to continue to support the modding scene in the future. So that’s a plus.

I also like to see more avenues for hobbiests to transition to paid professionals without having to have a lot of up-front capital. As I said, some people make a good living producing assets for the Unity asset store. I can see the really popular mods making a tidy bundle for their creators, too.

The financial incentive may also result in fewer promising mods being abandoned halfway by their creators, or left to get outdated over time.

That being said, I do understand the fear that all the mods that used to be free will go paid and the rich, mod-supported experience of Bethesda games will dry up into a wasteland of paid, half-assed products and cheap money-grabs.

The fact that Steam still offers users a 24 hour money-back refund might help alleviate the gold-rush aspect a bit. So long as you play the content when you buy it, a few hours is more than enough to get a decent sense of whether the mod is worth a few bucks.

The other thing to keep in mind is what happened on Apple’s app store. The glut of competing products resulted in tremendous downward price pressure, something we’re seeing on Steam now, too. I’m guessing that for all but the best mods, the competition will drive the price down into the $1-$3 region, over time. Which is not exorbitant, especially since you can get your money back if you quickly decide this isn’t a mod you want to play with, long term.

We’ll have to wait and see where prices stabilize to.

We’ll also see if some spirit of communal sharing is maintained. There are still free assets released on the Unity Asset store, developers who choose to give back to the community. I’m hoping that at least some of that same spirit will survive the relentless engine of Capitalism. 😉

Not A Hero

23 Apr
April 23, 2015

I didn’t know I wanted this game until today.

Lesser Known Trolley Problem Variations

22 Apr
April 22, 2015

For those who don’t know the trolley problem, it’s a famous ethics thought experiment that, along with several variants, reveal interesting things about how humans make moral choices.

Lovely High Rez Art From The Order 1886

21 Apr
April 21, 2015

Spiderweb Software no longer developing games for iPad

17 Apr
April 17, 2015

Sad news. Jeff’s a great guy, this must be a real blow.